Unlocking Innovation: Exploring Canada’s Technology Access Centers
One of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face in the food and beverage industry is getting help in the R&D area specific to scaling up. This blog post is a quick summary of the various Technology Access Centers that exist across Canada to help you and they can often support scale-up challenges with both R&D expertise and funding.
A Technology Access Centre (TAC) is a state-of-the-art applied research and innovation Center, affiliated with a Canadian college or cégep, that provides Canadian companies with access to cutting-edge technology and equipment, as well as a multi-disciplinary team with the expertise to turn brilliant ideas into market-ready products. TACs offer value-added R&D and innovation services to Canadian businesses—particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)—to develop new prototypes, scale-up processes and solve unique business challenges. They also provide customized training for corporate teams to upgrade technical skills, and de-risk the financial investment of implementing new equipment and adopting emerging technologies. They aim to generate innovation and productivity results while enhancing the competitiveness of their industry partners.
Where are the Technology Access Centers (TAC) Located?
There are 64 NSERC-designated TACs across Canada—from Victoria, BC to Inuvik, NWT to St. John’s, NL —supporting entrepreneurs and innovators in areas such as food innovation, agriculture, advanced manufacturing, bio-innovation, green chemistry, energy, aquaculture, metallurgy, geomatics, innovative vehicles, smart clothing, wearables, mobile applications and more.
Which TAC’s focus on food and beverage?
Several TACs in Canada focus on food and beverage-related research and innovation. Some of these include:
Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre (CFWIIC) – Niagara College: Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, CFWIIC focuses on supporting food and beverage innovation, including wine production, culinary arts, and food processing.
Culinary Innovation and Food Technology (CIFT) Centre – Humber College: Based in Toronto, Ontario, CIFT supports food product development and innovation, with a focus on culinary arts and food science.
Food Development Centre – Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development: Located in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, this TAC provides assistance to food processors in developing and improving food products.
Food Processing Development Centre – Alberta Agriculture and Forestry: Situated in Leduc, Alberta, this center offers services to food processors, including product development, research, and testing.
Atlantic Food and Beverage Processors Initiative (AFBPI) – College of the North Atlantic: This initiative, based in Newfoundland and Labrador, supports food and beverage processors in Atlantic Canada.
Innovation Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Production (ICAMP) – Fanshawe College: While not exclusively focused on food and beverage, ICAMP at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, offers research and development services for various industries, including food processing.
Food Innovation and Research Centre (FIRSt) at George Brown College. FIRSt supports the food and beverage sector with scientific R&D services from their lab at George Brown College. We work with our clients to troubleshoot product development challenges and help them bring new ideas to market.
Canada’s Smartest Kitchen– Based at Holland College in PEI Sectors of TAC include Advanced Manufacturing, Agriculture, Digital Media and Graphic Communications, Environmental Technology, Food Innovation
BC Beverage Technology Access Centre (BCBTAC) – The BCBTAC supports the Canadian beverage industry’s innovation and growth by providing a comprehensive range of expert analytical, commercial, and sensory services and resources.
Prairie Research Kitchen – Red River College Winnipeg The Research Kitchen provides a collaborative space to put the creativity and skills of Red River College Polytechnic’s culinary instructors and students to work developing new food products or services for the market. At Prairie Research Kitchen, you’ll find cost-effective solutions and College-related funding opportunities to foster innovation.
How Can You Work with a TAC?
Collaborating with a TAC enables Canadian SMEs to reach the resources they need to become high-growth firms, succeeding at home and abroad. These partnerships assist the firm with their technical R&D work, preparing them to enter new markets with new products.
For innovative firms, there are several ways to engage with a TAC, each of which can be custom-tailored to meet the needs of the client. These engagements are:
• interactive visits;
• fee-for-service arrangements;
• leveraged projects;
• capstone projects; and
• association-supported projects.
How Can I Learn More?
To connect with a TAC to solve your challenge, please visit TACJumpBall.ca. We have a dedicated point person at each of the 64 TACs eager to rapidly respond to your innovation-related inquiry if their TAC is equipped to assist.
Or check out https://tech-access.ca/
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